Every distributed application needs an effective way of distributing third party libraries. Hadoop uses DistributedCache and Spark uses similar approaches. When you are building your own distributed system, you also have to build a effective mechanism to do the distribution.

This post talks about how to implement this on mesos. This implementation is inspired by Spark implementation.

This post extends code discussed in this post.So if you are new to mesos please go through that post before continuing.

tl;dr Access the complete code on github

Third Party libraries in distributed Applications

Almost every piece of code we write today uses one or more third party library. In distributed systems third party libraries become tricky to handle.As we don’t have control over instantiation of our tasks, the underlying system should allow us to express the dependencies so that it can add those to the classpath when our task is run.

There are many ways to handle this problem. The following are the few following options.

Using an uber jar

We can create a big jar which contains our code and all of it’s dependencies. Build tools like maven,ant makes this very easy to do. Though it’s an attractive solution it has its own quirks.

  • Jar Size

We will be updating our code faster than changing dependencies. So every time when we make a change we have to distribute a big jar rather than distributing only changed code. This effects the startup time and also eats up lot’s of network bandwidth.

  • Versioning

If we mix user code with dependencies, upgrading third libraries become challenging. Whenever we upgrade any dependence we have to recompile all code and re distribute again. This is not feasible in big code bases.

So it’s not wise to mix user code with libraries. We will be needing an independent way of distributing jars.

Using Distributed file system

One of the alternative to uber jar is using a distributed file system for distributing libraries. Normally any distributed applications run on distributed file system like HDFS. Though it’s a good approach for most of applications,it does comes with dependency that a distributed file system has to be available. Also the individual library jar size is small,which performs poorly in big data file systems.

Localized distribution over HTTP

This is the approach we are going to follow in this post. We are going to host our dependencies in a web server and ask the slaves to pull the jars from server. We create this web server on demand and configure tasks to read and configure using them.

The following steps shows how to implement this distribution on Mesos and Scala.

Step 1 : Web server at master side

We run a web server at master when we start executing task. The following code shows a http server created using jetty server.

class HttpServer(resourceBase: File) {
  var server: Server = null
  var port: Int = -1

  def start() = {
    if (server != null) {
      throw new RuntimeException("server already running")
    else {

      val threadPool = new QueuedThreadPool()

      server = new Server(0)

      //serve the files in the folder as the path is indicated
      val resourceHandler = new ResourceHandler

      val handlerList = new HandlerList
      handlerList.setHandlers(Array(resourceHandler, new DefaultHandler))

      //start the server with handler and capture the port
      port = server.getConnectors()(0).getLocalPort


We call start method to start the server, which serves files from resourceBase folder.

Access complete code here.

Step 2 : Integrate server with Scheduler

The above server has to be started dynamically whenever we require to distribute the jars. In Mesos scheduler is responsible for spinning up the task, so we start it before the first task at scheduler side.

override def registered(driver: SchedulerDriver, frameworkId: FrameworkID, masterInfo: MasterInfo): Unit = {
    //create the jar server if there are any jars have to be distributed
    if(jars.size > 0 )  createJarServer()

We override registered method,so that whenever scheduler comes up we start the server.

def createJarServer() = {
    val dirFile = Utils.createTempDir()
    println("jar directory is" + dirFile.getAbsolutePath)
    val fileNames = new ArrayBuffer[String]()
    for ((path, index) <- jars.zipWithIndex) {
      val file = new File(path)
      val fileName = index + "_" + file.getName
      copyFile(file, new File(dirFile, fileName))
      fileNames += fileName

    jarServer = new HttpServer(dirFile)
    val uri = jarServer.uri
    println("jar server started at " + uri)
    jarUris = fileNames.map(f => uri + "/" + f).mkString(",")

createServer copies specified jar from it’s path to a temporary location. Also it populates jarUris string which contains all the jar URI’s in a comma separated manner.

Access complete code here.

Step 3 : Pass jarUris to executor

We have to pass this uri’s to the executor,so that it can download the jars and add them to class path before it starts running tasks. We pass it as the command line argument to the executor script as follows.

def getExecutorInfo(d: SchedulerDriver): ExecutorInfo = {
    val scriptPath = System.getProperty("executor_script_path",
      setCommand(CommandInfo.newBuilder().setValue("" +
      "/bin/sh "+scriptPath+ s" $jarUris"))

Access complete code here.

Step 4 : Access jars in Executor

In the executor side, we download this jars from specified jar uris. The following code shows that.

def getClassLoader(): ClassLoader = {
        var loader = this.getClass.getClassLoader
        val localfiles = new ArrayBuffer[String]()

        //if jars is specified then split by comma to get all paths
        if (args.length > 0) {
          for (uri <- args(0).split(",").filter(_.size > 0)) {
            val url = new URL(uri)
            val fileName = url.getPath.split("/").last
            downloadFile(url, fileName)
            localfiles += fileName

          //use the URL classloader to add it to the classpath
          if (localfiles.size > 0) {
            val urls = localfiles.map(file => new 
            loader = new URLClassLoader(urls, loader)

Once it downloads the jars, it adds to the class path using URLClassLoader. We set this classloader on the thread which executes the task.

Access complete code here.

Example : Mysql task

The following is one of example which dynamically loads the mysql driver which is passed as library jar.

def mysqlTask() = {
    new FunctionTask[Unit](
      () => {
        try {
          val classLoader = Thread.currentThread.getContextClassLoader
          println("successfully loaded")
        catch {
          case e: Exception => {
            throw e

Access complete code here.


  • Step 1 : Download code from github
  • Step 2 : Build the code using maven
  • Step 3 : Update run-executor.sh file in src/main/resources to point to the right directory.

  • Step 4 : Run CustomTasks main method with mesos master url , path to the run-executor.sh shell script and path to the mysql jar file.

More detail steps for running you can find here.


The output should be available in mesos logs as specified here.

If everything goes right you should be able to see “successfully loaded” message in the logs.